It’s a Lonesome Old Town
Jazz Tribune no 47, Black and White Double NL 89161
The double LP contains the last recordings of McKinney’s Cotton Pickers which are put together with sessions from 1939-40 by Don Redman’s Orchestra, that is quite another affair even if it’s directed by the same man.
In December 1930 the McKinney’s had passed their zenith. Their great singer and tenor man George Thomas had died in a car accident which traumatized the band to some extent and furthermore the depression started to have an effect in the business. This can be felt in the chosen tune. I like the simple message of the song and above all the concentrated dramatic performance by the band. The recorded sound of the session is also fantastic and something to be enjoyed by itself if you play it over good equipment!
Soon Don Redman would leave and start his own orchestra and though his role as musical leader and arranger was competently taken over by Benny Carter the end of a great band was near.